Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, accounting for about 30% of all cancers. It occurs when the cells in the skin grow abnormally. There are three main types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common type of skin cancer. It usually appears as a small, smooth, or scaly growth on the skin. BCC is rarely fatal, but it can be disfiguring if it is not treated.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): This is the second most common type of skin cancer. It usually appears as a red, scaly patch or a lump on the skin. SCC can be more serious than BCC, but it is still usually curable if it is caught early.
- Melanoma: This is the least common type of skin cancer, but it is the most deadly. Melanoma can appear as a new mole or a change in an existing mole. It is important to see a doctor right away if you notice any changes in a mole.
The risk of skin cancer increases with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Other risk factors include fair skin, a family history of skin cancer, and certain medical conditions, such as xeroderma pigmentosum.
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from UV radiation. This can be done by:
- Avoiding the sun during the middle of the day, when the UV rays are strongest.
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a hat and sunglasses, when you are outdoors.
- Avoid tanning beds.
If you have any concerns about skin cancer, see a doctor right away. Early detection and treatment are essential for a good outcome.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about skin cancer:
- Skin cancer can occur in anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender.
- The risk of skin cancer increases with age.
- People with fair skin are more likely to develop skin cancer than people with darker skin.
- People with a family history of skin cancer are more likely to develop skin cancer themselves.
- People who have had skin cancer in the past are more likely to develop it again.
If you are concerned about skin cancer, talk to your doctor. They can examine your skin and recommend ways to reduce your risk.